I know that we at The One often go on about originality and its importance in the games world, but we didn't really have a game in mind where your success relies upon chatting up squirrels. I do love animals and all that, but I still wouldn't want to be seen publicly asking them for directions in the street.
There's also the matter of dress sense. I mean, hey, I love a hero as much as the next game player, but I do believe that there are certain requirements for his/her appearance. Call me foolish, call me irresponsible, call me (get on with it - Ed.) but the first image that springs to mind with a game going by the name of Beastlord isn't some skinny bloke who wears a girly-looking outfit and runs a bit like Superman in that dodgy sequence from the first film -you know, the bit with the train. Yeah, right.
Well, that aside, what's the story then? Well, there once existed a valley where all creatures lived in harmony - just like in a Cliff song - and a force called The Guiding Light looked over man and beast, keeping them from fear. The guardians of the valley were the All-Seeing Hawk and the Winged Unicorn until - surprise surprise, oh bloody hell - The Lord Of Darkness kidnapped the unicorn and used it as bait to capture the Hawk and turns it to stone. Typical. As you'd probably imagine, all hell breaks loose and loosely speaking it's down to you to sort it all out 'n' that.
The game revolves around the standard graphic adventure style of collecting objects, trading with characters and using the correct object at the right time. There are generally one or two major problems on the go at a time, each requiring smaller puzzles to be solved first.
All that you have to get you through the coming challenge are your wits, your fists, your legs - frail-looking though they are - and a jolly big bag to carry things around in. And, believe me, between beating up innocent villagers and treading on frogs, there's tons of health-reviving fresh fruit for the picking up of. Oh well, best go and fing some gerbils to talk to...
I'm young again! Having loaded Beastlord I just knew that I must have travelled back to 1989. Sarcasm aside, Beastlord is a tad disappointing on the visual side. The graphics belong to the age of 'Shadow of the Beast' with cardboard cutout sprites mixed with multiple levels of parallax, while the in-game sound amounts to the occasional grunt or slapping sound when you punch someone, with crickets chirping in the background. The start and end music is rather superb, actually, but that's not good enough to change the game as a whole. Beastlord reminds me of many games, primarily Elf and S.O.T.B., due to the need to tackle individual problems by using the right object with the right thing, with the odd fracas thrown in for good measure. Other than that, it doesn't offer anything new to the player. Even so, it's still a good game to play, mainly due to the number of creatures and characters that are there to be beaten up - me, violent? - and the size of the levels. The backgrounds do get slightly repetitive but there are four distinctive areas to travel through to break up the monotony. The real downer is the overall animation of your main character which is, to be frank, just a little sad by today's standards . He rumbles along in a rather amusing way that does nothing to build up the image of an 'impressive hero'. The 'pull down' options work very well, making it easy to jump between the action and the trading/inventory manipulation, and on the whole the game is easy to control and wander into - it's just a bit let down by presentation. Don't expect anything original to appear on your screen when you load this up, but I suppose that we haven't had a decent game of this type for a while so you may find it fills a gap.
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